Value of Pacific Islands Forum emphasised


The Pacific Islands Forum is a crucial power in the goal to promote and safeguard the vision of a Blue Pacific continent, a former U.S congressman says.

The Forum faces a crisis, as most of its northern membership has officially started the process to withdraw from the regional body.

Micronesian leaders are unhappy at the structure of the Forum and domination of its agenda by Polynesian countries, Australia and New Zealand.

The rift also raised questions about the relevance of the regional body, which had 18 member nations.

Robert Underwood, who served as a U.S congressman for Guam and is a former president of the University of Guam, said the idea of the Forum remains highly relevant as the force behind the concepts of a ‘Pacific way’ and a unique blue continent.

“All of these ideas and intellectual formations that are then turned into concrete steps originated out of the idea of being a band of brothers and sisters.

“Once that’s broken, what happens is that it tends to highlight all the other distinctions that are usually made.”

The Forum was set up 50 years ago, and has just marked anniversary.